Do we understand how this works or not? So what if your visitors do not come back next week? If you presented the true Gospel of Jesus Christ then you have done your job as a pastor. You have planted seeds for some. Seeds that may be watered later on down the line. For others, you watered seeds planted by someone else who was faithful to the Gospel. For some it may be harvest time. God may have given the increase to some in response to your faithfulness to preach the Gospel. The job of the pastor is to present the Gospel. God gives the increase. The Holy Spirit draws people to the cross. So what's the problem? The goal is still wrong. The pastor wants to church them not see them saved. I mean, sure eventually they can get saved. That's foundational after all but for now, first things first.
And they call it the Super Bowl. As if it was just a game to them. The problem with their analogy is the Super Bowl is a winner takes all proposition. It is just one game without do overs, mulligans or oopsies. Warren and the purpose driven mindset seem to think they are in a best of seven scenario like the World Series. Where no one's life will be required of them after game one. The foundational need for players in the Super Bowl is to win. Not to get around to it next time. For many there is no next time. Some players go their entire career without playing in a Super Bowl, let alone winning it. The analogy is a poor one employed by the purpose driven industry because it shows a lack of understanding of the Gospel, and football. It exposes them for being interested in building their individual kingdom and not the kingdom of God.
I want you to picture this. Somewhere there is a man who has not known God his entire life. He has lived 60 years on this planet and gone through the motions of life. Raised a family. Worked a job for 40 years. His wife has always asked for him to come with her to church. He has heard the Gospel before and always dismissed it as being for the weak. This year he doesn't know why but he has agreed to go with her for Easter. He has agreed to step into a building that is supposed to house the very presence of God. Where the bride of Christ gather. The peculiar people. The royal priesthood. The children of God. What he does not know is that very night his life will be required of him. A lifetime of stress and high blood pressure will finally claim their prize.
He has one shot left though to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be drawn to the cross but he walks into a church where the shepherd thinks he is a demographic to target. A customer to please. A goat to lure into his sanctuary. The shepherd CEO-dude thinks he is in the Super Bowl and if he can convince this man to come back next week, well that's a touchdown. Except he does not know there is no next week for this man. This is it. Winner takes all. The man walks in and enjoys worship. It is upbeat and positive. He sings about how he is a friend of God, even though he really isn't. He sings about something called the blessing of Abraham which teaches him that he is entitled to some kind of grand inheritance. He sings about how much God loves him and heaven and earth kissing before the person leading worship seemed to go off into a 20 minute chanting tangent. As the pastor-vision caster approaches the pulpit he feels strangely open to what he might have to say. Sixty years is a long time and he is tired. Tired of having to carry the load all by himself. He admires and envies the peace his wife has had since she started this Christian thing. He is ready.
After some jokes, some of which he thinks seem oddly out of place, the speaker goes into a 20 minute message about improving his marriage. The message was engaging and the speaker was polished. There were even some good tips that he really took to heart. He could be a better husband he thinks. Maybe even start coming regularly to this church thing his wife likes so much. When they get home he tells her as much and she is thrilled too. God can work miracles she thinks. This seems like a new beginning. The first day of the rest of their lives. They go to sleep that night and as we already know, he dies in his sleep. He dies in his sin. In his state of rebellion towards God. We may feel sad because we know what comes next and for all of eternity but he had one last shot. The problem is the man charged with bringing the Gospel to his ears treated him like a football. He punted to a later week that the man never had in his future. You see beloved, Rick Warren was right about one thing. The Gospel and his need for Jesus was foundational. The problem is he teaches pastors to build upon something else. Build upon their need for significance or to improve their marriage. You can always get around to the foundation later. No. No you cannot. Who in their right mind builds before the foundation is set? This man had one chance. He walked into the Super Bowl unaware the game was even being played and he lost. He lost because the man with the keys to the kingdom of heaven tucked them away in his pocket for another time and instead spoke to him about his marriage. It was a good message. It was well crafted and delivered. It probably helped some people but it did not save anyone.
How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News our key verses exclaim! How can someone believe unless they first hear and how can they hear unless someone is preaching? Please hear me well pastors. This is not a game. Your adversary is not playing. He is trying to run the clock out and you are letting him. You are not charged with growing your church as that is God's job. You are not charged with casting vision -- the Bible should be your vision. You do not need a witty repartee. You do not need to convince anyone to come back to your church next week. You have one job. You have one task upon which you will be judged at a far higher standard than the rest people not in your calling. That task is actually the easy part. God keeps all the hard parts for Himself. We sow or water but He gives the increase. He changes hearts. All we have to do is present the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ. It alone has the power of God unto the salvation of men. Not trying to find some relevance with the carnality of the lost. Not with chasing all of the fleshly leadership principles which draws no one to Christ. Not with the slickest marketing campaign Madison Avenue can dream up. You simply do not know who the Lord has drawn to your sermon on any given day, let alone the "Super Bowl." So every time you have the privilege to stand behind a pulpit, charged with bringing the Gospel to the lost. Don't try and church them. Imagine they are like the man described above. He has one shot left to hear the Gospel that has the power to save him. Don't fumble that chance away. Lay the foundation upon which his new life can be built.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- April 14, 2017